Continuous Glucose Monitor
Adding a continuous glucose monitor can make a big diabetes difference.
By Deanna Glick
Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
August 2009 — There are those life-changing events and milestones many people might relate to. Graduating from college. Launching a career. Getting married. Buying a house. Giving birth. Moving many miles away.
And then there are those that are quite unique, that only select folks can understand. Being diagnosed with a chronic illness the day after your 21st birthday. Your first shot of Glucagon from an attractive EMT at your bedside. Getting your first insulin pump delivered by the Man in Brown on Christmas Eve during a family celebration at your apartment.
Two weeks ago, another one happened. My Dexcom continous glucose monitor (CGM) was delivered. I remember thinking at some point after I got my first insulin pump that the only thing that could change my diabetes life more would be a cure. I was wrong.
When I got my insulin pump, I immediately began training for a marathon. It was a bit unconventional. Typically, new pump users gradually work up to a normal exercise routine while learning the details of this very detail-oriented therapy. I had not skipped a meal in over a decade. I hadn't eaten more than 45 grams of carbohydrate at one time over the same period. My life was rigid. And, I must admit, I was good at it. The pump brought the luxury of flexibility to my life. More desserts, more exercise without feeding insulin, more skipped and delayed meals, more meals with only trace carbohydrates like those big luscious salads you eat for lunch at fancy restaurants. Soon, I couldn't remember life without my pump, much like I couldn't remember life before diabetes.
And now, my pump has been overshadowed. My continuous glucose monitor has brought about the most welcome and profound change in my life since my daughter was born three years ago. Here's the deal. It's all relative. There was, quite simply, more in my life that could be changed when my CGM arrived. I have more responsibility now. I juggle more things in less time. I have heavier burdens to bear. The kind that makes stopping to prick your finger just one more thing that tends to fall to the bottom of the priority list when it once held the top spot.
In the past two weeks, I've enjoyed a peace of mind I never thought possible as a mother struggling to attain optimum diabetes management. As I mingled amid a room full of preschoolers dressed up in costume, I heard my continuous glucose monitor alarm to alert me to a blood sugar of 70 rather than needing to pull out the finger-pricker and hope none of the kids saw me. I've enjoyed spinning and kickboxing classes without raiding my child's entire snack supply afterward because it was so easy to monitor my blood sugars before and during exercise. I've made key adjustments to my basal rates as a result of marked patterns. And, perhaps most importantly, all of this has added up to a mommy who's in a much better mood much more of the time.
Now, I just have to figure out where I'm going to scrape up the cash for the co-pay of several hundred dollars. I can't think of anything more worth it.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
Holidays are tricky, no? Between managing diabetes among massive amounts of junk food, managing stress to manage bloodsugar among (sometimes) massive amounts of family squabbling, shopping stress and the like, and trying to get enough sleep and exercise in the cold winter months - it's a lot to handle. So I've got a two tier plan to keep bloodsugars at bay this year. Tier one - diet and exercise. Typically, at this time of year I do what I call the nutrition and gym...